Warning: Spoilers for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet ahead.
Time flies when you’re a Pokemon trainer having fun, doesn’t it? It feels like I put together these strongest returning Pokemon in the Sword and Shield Crown Tundra DLC and best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl lists only yesterday –- but wouldn’t you know it, here we are two years already after the release of Sword and Shield with the newest installments in the Pokemon franchise, the 9th-generation Scarlet and Violet games almost ready to hit store shelves in four days on November 18th.
Of course, one of the most exciting facets of any new Pokemon game, besides discovering all the new Pokemon of course, is the strategy that comes with incorporating them into teams and figuring out which will prove most advantageous in battle.
So with that being said, here are our predictions for the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet for competitive battling.
Base Stat Total: 115 HP/145 ATK/92 DEF/75 SP. ATK/86 SP. DEF/87 SPD (Total: 600)
Pokemon Sword and Shield gave us a Dragon/Steel type that had an undeniable resemblance to Mechagodzilla in Duraludon; could Scarlet and Violet have given us our actual Godzilla in Dragon/Ice dual-type, Baxcalibur?
While Ice-type has typically been the worst defensive type in past Pokemon games, Baxcalibur’s pseudo-legendary stats, dual Dragon typing and amazing ability in Thermal Exchange (Boosts the Attack-stat when the Pokemon is hit by a Fire-type move. The Pokemon can also not be burned) all offer plenty of promise. Whether or not Baxcalibur can hold a candle to fellow Dragon/Ice type Kyurem from Gen. V is a question for another day, but I’m looking forward to including this bad-ass, Godzilla/Spinosaurus amalgam of a Pokemon on my competitive battling teams with gusto.
Notable moves: Breaking Swipe, Earthquake, Ice Shard, Icicle Crash, Dragon Dance, Dragon Claw
Base Stat Total: 170 HP/113 ATK/65 DEF/45 SP. ATK/55 SP. DEF/73 SPD (Total: 521)
Looks like Baxcalibur won’t be the only boon to the Ice-type in Gen. IX as Cetitan, a massive unit of a land whale looks to be the leviathan that everyone wished Wailord had been (sorry Wailord stans).
Sporting a gargantuan 170 base health, Thick Fat ability to mitigate Fire attacks and an additional boost to its staying power in the form of new weather effect Snowscape, which boosts the Defense stat of Ice-types, Cetitan looks like it might actually be the first Pokemon to buck the trend that Ice-types can’t be defensive walls.
Cetitan will have dangerous attacking potential too with its Sheer Force ability and access to moves like Belly Drum, Body Press and Heavy Slam, the latter of which boosts the damage of moves when the Pokemon outweighs its opponent – especially useful considering will tip the scales at a whopping 1,543.2 lbs (more than double Kyogre’s weight), making it one of the heaviest Pokemon in the game.
Notable moves: Ice Punch, Ice Shard, Earthquake, Heavy Slam, Play Rough, Liquidation, Body Press, Belly Drum, Superpower
Base Stat Total: 109 HP/64 ATK/91 DEF/103 SP. ATK/83 SP. DEF/45 SPD
If its stats and Ability are any indicators, Bellibolt’s only claim to fame in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet won’t be its resemblance to Mr. Frog from Adult Swim’s Smiling Friends or an unfinished-looking beta Pokemon.
With a solid stat line and a signature ability in Electromorphosis, which boosts the power of the next Electric-type move it uses after being hit by an attack, Bellibolt looks like it could be a formidable Electric-type tank and one of the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet for competitive battling when the hype for the new games settle and the meta is established.
Base Stat Total: 76/110/70/81/70/123
Meowscarada, the Magician Cat Pokemon is the final evolution of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s Grass-type starter, Sprigatito. Starter Pokemon normally have some of the best total stat points out of all the Pokemon but what’s even more auspicious for Meowscarada in terms of it being one of the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet for competitive battling isn’t its overall stat count or its feline David Blaine stature but Flower Trick, a 70 BP Grass-type attack that never misses and always results in a critical hit (essentially making it a Grass-type version of Urshifu’s signature move, Wicked Blow).
Meowscarada should also make for a serviceable utility Pokemon as well with its Protean ability, which allows it to switch to different Pokemon types depending on the moves it uses and Spikes and Knock Off in its repertoire.
Cyclizar, a Dragon/Normal type Pokemon, is being introduced as the “Mount Pokemon,” one that has lived alongside humans in the Paldea region since ancient times.
While a Motorcycle Dragon is certainly a fire concept, I’m even more intrigued by the fact that Cyclizar has Regenerator as its Ability, which restores 1/3rd of the Pokemon’s health upon switching out; coupled with Shed Tail, a move which creates a Substitute and then automatically switches the Pokemon out of battle, Cyclizar looks like it won’t only be a practical in-game Pokemon when it comes to transportation but a sneaky one in competitive battling as well.
Speaking of Pokemon taking advantage of switching in battle, the next Pokemon on this list might do so in an even more impressive manner than Cyclizar.
Base Stat Total: 100 HP/70 ATK/72 DEF/53 SP. ATK/62 SP. DEF/100 SPD (Zero) / 100 HP/160 ATK/97 DEF/106 SP. ATK/87 SP. DEF/100 SPD (Hero)
It may have taken nine generations, but we finally have our dolphin Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet: Palafin. Palafin looks like it certainly won’t disappoint either, especially when it comes to the Zero to Hero ability, which will change Palafin to Hero form upon switching, giving it Legendary stats.
Much like Cyclizar can take advantage of Shed Tail, Palafin too can take advantage of its Flip Tail move, a 60 BP Water-type move that automatically switches its user out for another Pokemon in the party and in this case, will make Palafin transform like some cetacean analogue for Clark Kent changing into Superman in a phone booth. And I’m here for it.
Notable moves: Flip Tail, Waterfall, Drain Punch, Ice Punch, Acrobatics
Base Stat Total: 85 HP/75 ATK/77 DEF/70 SP. ATK/105 SP. DEF/94 SPD
At first glance, Tinkaton’s base 75 Attack stat might seem a bit subpar, even if it’s flexing a 160 BP signature move like Gigaton Hammer (The user swings its whole body around to attack with its huge hammer. This move can’t be used twice in a row) along with it. However, throw in Swords Dance, Knock Off and a STAB Play Rough and Tinkaton should have the potential to scare plenty of teams and serve as one of the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet for competitive battling.
In addition, Tinkaton is an adorable pink fairy with a hairstyle like a pin-up model from the 1950s and an egregiously big hammer that would make Thor envious – a hammer fairy if you will – which makes it one of the coolest Pokemon designs ever and a must-have for my Scarlet and Violet squads. It also has beef with Corviknight according to its PokeDex entry (one of the strongest competitive battling Pokemon in Sword and Shield), which only adds to its absurd allure.
Base Stat Total: 72 HP/101 ATK/100 DEF/50 SP. ATK/97 SP. DEF/68 SPD
Houndstone is a Pokemon whose impressive design factored into its addition on this list of the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet, only in a slightly different way than Tinkaton. Whereas Tinkaton has a fantastic, borderline absurd “fairy with an oversized hammer of Cloud Strife proportions” vibe going for it, Houndstone, the evolution of Greavard, a Ghost-type doggo Pokemon, is downright frightening.
Looking like the lovechild of Vicar Amelia from Bloodborne and Skullgreymon from Digimon, Houndstone will be useful in Sandstorm teams due to its Sand Rush ability and offer unique defensive capabilities with its hidden Fluffy ability, which halves damage from contact moves but makes it take double damage from Fire-type attacks.
Base Stat Total: 100 HP/100 ATK/130 DEF/45 SP. ATK/90 SP. DEF/35 SPD (Total: 500)
I’ve been a big Rock-type guy ever since the days of Gen. 1 where I rocked a Golem in my team to counter my little brother’s Charizard. Alongside Golem, Rhydon, Aerodactyl and Tyrantrum, Tyranitar is one of my favorite Pokemon of all-time.
While Tyranitar is a beastly Rock-type Pokemon and a mainstay in the top tier of the competitive meta, many Rock-types aren’t as fortunate. In fact, the majority of them aren’t very good at all, a notion I learned the hard way when I tried to ahem, rock Rock-type Pokemon such as Armaldo, Aggron, Regirock and Cradily in my competitive teams (Probopass and Sudowoodo was where I drew the line).
There may be light at the end of the tunnel with the advent of Garnacl, who will hopefully prove as one of the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet for competitive battling.
Its Purifying Salt ability, (The Pokémon’s pure salt protects it from status conditions and halves the damage taken from Ghost-type moves) is both confounding and amazing, but in addition to its solid core of 100/130/90 for the Health, Defense and Special Defense categories establishes Garnacl as a bonafide tank, especially against pesky Ghost-types who like to disrupt as well as sweep (Dragapult immediately comes to mind).
In terms of offense, Garnacl gets a Stone Edge, Earthquake, Heavy Slam and a signature move in the form of Salt Cure, which is like a Rock-type Fire Spin that deals extra damage to Steel and Water-type Pokemon. Garnacl can also go for a Utility mon role with Stealth Rock and Recover.
While he may not be Tyranitar, Garnacl should serve as one of the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet for competitive battling.
Thanks to its amazing Ghost/Steel dual-typing, immunity to status moves, its Good as Gold ability and access to the move Trick, Gholdengo has become a dangerous staple of the top tier in the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet competitive battling meta. Gholdengo also has a deadly 133 base Special Attack stat, which means moves such as Thunderbolt, Tera Blast and Dazzling Gleam can dish out serious damage to other competitive battling staples, especially when paired with Choice Specs. With 252 Speed EVs, Gholdengo can straight up bully slower teams with Nasty Plot (a move which raises the user’s Special Attack stat by 2 stages), while hiding behind a Substitute.
Another powerful dual Ghost-type and one of the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet is Skeledirge, the final form of Fire-type starter, Fueococo. Skeledirge is a giant, red crocodile whose head and jaws are wreathed in flames and whose “gentle singing soothes the souls of all that hear it,” according to its Pokemon Violet PokeDex entry. Oh yeah, and naturally it also, “burns its enemies to a crisp with flames of over 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Skeledirge’s signature attack, Torch Song, a 80 BP attack which also has a 100% chance to raise its Special Attack by one stage. Will-O-Wisp, which burns the target, an instant recovery in Slack Off and its Unaware ability, which makes it ignore all of its opponent’s stat changes when taking or dealing damage, also makes Skeledirge one of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s most impressive physical walls.
This prehistoric version of Donphan not only looks like an absolute powerhouse, with its massive, curled tusks, spiked armor plates and serrated ears — it is is an absolute powerhouse. Thanks to its incredible Defense stat (131 base), ability to serve as a Stealth Rock setter and/or Rapid Spinner, a bevy of strong resistances and immunity to Electric thanks to its Ground/Fighting dual-typing, Great Tusk handles the role of a Physical Defensive wall with aplomb.
Great Tusk also has the capability to be a bulky attacker, thanks to an impressive 131 base Attack stat and its Headlong Rush signature move (shared only by Hariyama), a 120 BP move (whose drawback is that it lowers the user’s Defense and Sp. Def stats by one stage).
Great Tusk also has the distinction of being one of the few Pokemon with the ability to set up and remove hazards from the field while also applying pressure on previous entry Gholdengo, the latter being the most useful anti-spinners in the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet competitive battling meta at the moment.
Chi-Yu might look about as threatening as a Goldeen (and have about the same amount of base HP) but that’s where the similarities end; that’s because this Dark/Fire dual-type Legendary fish Pokemon has a blistering 135 base Special Attack and ability in Beads of Ruin that makes its Special Attack even more potent. Slap a Choice Scarf on Chi-Yu and it can barbeque pretty much anything without a Fire resistance.
Which of our choices do you think will be the best new Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet for competitive battling? Did we leave any Pokemon off the list? Let us know in the comments.
Need help finding some of the tougher to find Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet? Click the link and use our guide to cop yourself a Frigibax, Frosmoth, Scizor, Pawmot and more.